This is the 6th article in the series of Bulls Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for FLYHALVES in the Vodacom Bulls 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Name: Louis Daniel Van Zyl “Louis” Fouché:
Louis Fouché is a product of Rustenburg Primary School and Rustenburg High School.
He represented the Leopards in 2007 at the Under 18 Academy Week. In 2008 he represented South Africa at the Under 18 Elite Squads and the Leopards at the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week. In 2009 he represented the Leopards in the ABSA Under 21 and Under 19 Competitions.
In 2010 he once again represented the Leopards at the ABSA Under 21 Competition.
He joined the Blue Bulls in 2011 where he was the team’s leading points scorer with 126 points in 9 appearances. Here he also played in the Vodacom Cup, ABSA Under 21 Competition and played in his maiden season of the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.
In 2012 He first played Vodacom Super Rugby for the Bulls.
In 2013, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the Blue Bulls until 2015.
His playing career is as follows:
- 2007 – Leopards – U18 Academy Week
- 2008 – South Africa – U18 Elite Squads, Leopards – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
- 2009 – Leopards – ABSA U21 Competition, Leopards, ABSA U19 Competition, Leopards, ABSA U21 Promotion / Relegation
- 2010 – Leopards – ABSA U21 Competition
- 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA U21 Competition
- 2012 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
- 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby
Louis should be the starting flyhalf for the Bulls in Super Rugby, if Handré Pollard does not usurp him in 2014.
Name: Handré Pollard:
Handré Pollard is a product of Somerset-West Primary School, Paarl Gymnasium and University of Pretoria (Tuks).
He represented Western Province at various youth levels, from the Under 13 Craven Week in 2007 to the Under 18 Craven Week in 2011.
He earned a call-up to the victorious SA Under 20 team at the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship, where he finished 4th top scorer overall with 42 points. He also scored 37 points for the SA Schools team in 2012.
He was also included in the training group that toured Argentina in preparation for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship. He was then included in the squad for the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship.
He joined the Blue Bulls in July 2012, making his provincial senior debut in the 40–32 victory over Griquas. He also represented Tuks in the 2013 Varsity Cup and was the premier flyhalf for the Vodacom Blue Bulls side in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division season.
In 2013, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the Blue Bulls until 2017..
His playing career is as follows:
- 2007 – WP – U13 Coca-Cola Craven Week
- 2010 – WP – U16 Grant Khomo Week
- 2011 – WP – U 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
- 2012 – South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, South Africa – SA Schools
- 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA U21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
Handré Pollard is still extremely young, not yet 20 years old and I think a lot of people expected to fast a meteoric rise for him in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division at the Blue Bulls in 2013. He should develop in 2014 and the open question is whether he could follow in the massive boots of Morné Steyn at the Bulls in 2014… only time will tell.
Name: Dirk Jacobus “Derick” Hougaard:
Derick Hougaard is a product of Piketberg Primary School, Boland Agricultural School and University of Pretoria (Tuks).
In the 2002 Currie Cup final against the Golden Lions, Hougaard broke Naas Botha’s 15 year record for points scored in a Currie Cup final of 24 by scoring 26, (1 try, 2 drop goals and 5 penalties). This feat at the start of his career and his excellent goal kicking success ratio during the following years earned him the accolade “Liefling van Loftus”, an Afrikaans phrase meaning the “sweetheart of Loftus Versfeld Stadium” in Pretoria. Each time Hougaard scored points for the Bulls at Loftus, the chorus of a Gé Korsten song named “Liefling” was played in the stadium.
Hougaard made his Test debut at the age of 20 for the Springboks during the 2003 World Cup as a reserve during the 72 to 6 win over Uruguay at Subiaco Oval in Perth, he also scored his first international points, successful in a conversion. After resuming his role as a reserve in the next match against England, Hougaard was promoted to flyhalf for the remaining 3 games that South Africa played at the World Cup. At the close of the World Cup, Hougaard, with 5 caps to his name had produced 48 points, including 2 tries. In the 2003 world cup match against Samoa, Hougaard was knocked out by a legal but hard tackle from Brian Lima.
The 2007 Super 14 semi-final saw Hougaard scoring all of his side’s 27 points, by means of 8 penalties and a drop goal, against the Canterbury Crusaders at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria. This equalled Adrian Cashmore of the Auckland Blues’s 1998 record for most points by an individual in a Super Rugby semi-final. This victory was historic since it set up the first ever Super Rugby final between 2 South African teams. The 2007 Super 14 season was also a personal best in Hougaard’s Super Rugby career, having scored 161 points in 14 matches.
In 2008, Hougaard signed for Leicester Tigers rejoining previous Blue Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer as a replacement for Andy Goode who had moved to CA Brive. He made his début against Bath in October 2008.
In 2009, Hougaard signed for Saracens, where he played in 33 matches for them, scoring 269 points. He suffered a severe heel injury and eventually decided to return to South Africa, where he has not played competative rugby since leaving Saracens. In stead he has recently been used as kicking coach for the Blue Bulls Junior sides.
Rumours would have us believe that he MIGHT make a return to the playing field at the Bulls in 2014, yet I would not bet serious money on that eventuality.
His playing career is as follows:
- 2002 – Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Blue Bulls – U19 Competition, Blue Bulls – Bankfin Currie Cup
- 2003 – Bulls – Vodacom Super 12, Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB U21 World Cup, Mobil Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – RWC Warm-ups, Springboks – IRB Rugby World Cup
- 2004 – Bulls – Vodacom Super 12, Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, South Africa – IRB U21 World Championships
- 2005 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 12, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
- 2006 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
- 2007 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Springboks – Vodacom Incoming Tours, Springboks – Vodacom Tri-Nations, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
- 2008 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Leicester Tigers
- 2009 – Leicester Tigers, Saracens, Saracens vs Springboks – Springboks – Vodacom Outgoing Tours
As there is only an outside chance of Derick Hougaard returning to the playing field, I would rather speculate that the Bulls would use Jurgen Visser in an emergency situation to cover at flyhalf.
This is one of the positions where the Bulls are light in their selection of players of high quality for Super Rugby 2014.
The Bulls should start with either Louis Fouché or Handré Pollard, depending on how both fare after Louis Fouché’s long term injury. Louis probably has the inside track as he has been Morné Steyn’s understudy at the Bulls for some time now.
Following speculation that Derick Hougaard might return to the field of play, after his prolonged stint on the sidelines recovering from a bit of a debilitating heel injury, I have included him as third option at flyhalf, but it could all be rumour that he will return to play for the Bulls.
Tony Jantjies, younger brother of Elton Jantjies, would probably be next in line as flyhalf and in an emergency Jurgen Visser, although probably the Bulls key fullback can also double as a make-shift flyhalf.
The next Article in the range will deal with the Bulls midfield.